Welcome to another edition of Full Press Hockey’s NHL Rumors! The NHL 2022-23 regular season games have begun and players will be evaluated. Now, with free agency moves mostly done, rumors are still around. Clubs are always working to improve their rosters for next season. Some teams are having difficulty creating enough cap space to make moves. Others are experiencing severe injuries to star players. Trade rumors/signings are still prevalent. In this Wednesday’s edition of NHL Rumors, we will take a look at the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, and the NHL Salary Cap.
Toronto Maple Leafs – Michael Bunting
Rumor: Per – Pierre LeBrun – theathletic.com. Is an eight-year contract extension in order for Michael Bunting?
The Maple Leafs almost always seem to be in salary cap purgatory and extending Bunting for eight years is one way to solve that dilemma. He’s 27 and that would be a secure contract for him to take him to the back end of his NHL career.
He is definitely doing well on the Auston Matthews–Mitch Marner line where he captured 23 goals and 40 assists in 79 games last season. Bunting then added one goal and two assists in six playoff games.
A more conservative three-to-five-year deal would equate to a higher AAV, which the Leafs really can’t afford. The team will want to see how Bunting progresses before making the significant move to offer him a lengthy pact. At this writing, he already has added one goal, one assist in four games for the 2022-23 season.
Vancouver Canucks – Bad start
Rumor: Per – Rob Williams – dailyhive.com. “Mentally weak” Canucks hold players-only meeting after collapsing again.
Blowing three leads in their first three contests and losing the games is not an ideal approach to starting a new season.
Canucks are the first team in NHL history to lose each of their first 3 games of a season while blowing a multi-goal lead in each contest
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) October 18, 2022
The early downfall was enough for the players to hold a players-only meeting to address the problem.
“We have to hold each other accountable about what’s going on right now,” Canucks captain Bo Horvat told reporters in Washington.
In describing his team’s effort… or lack thereof, head coach Bruce Boudreau stated, “We have to hold each other accountable about what’s going on right now.” He also described his team as “mentally weak”.
Boudreau came in last season to help the Canucks make an unsuccessful run for the playoffs and now may be wondering what is wrong with his team. We all know that when a team has difficulty the first one in the blame line is usually the head coach.
Don’t forget he signed a one-year extension worth $2.5 million so he could be fired. At this point, it’s still early and Boudreau has done a fine job behind the bench. One area which must improve is the penalty kill where they have a horrible 50 percent success rate. That could change with Ilya Mikheyev, who was brought in to kill penalties and is expected to make his Canucks regular season debut.
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NHL Salary Cap – Increased salary cap
Rumor: Per – Lyle Richardson – bleacherreport.com. At least eight NHL teams will benefit most from a projected salary cap increase.
The cap was fixed at $81.5 million over the past two seasons, rising to $82.5 million for 2022-23 and scheduled to increase to $83.5 for 2023-24. With potential revenue projections increasing, the cap could reach between $87.5 million and $88 million for 2024-25. For 2025-26, it could leap another estimated $4 million to $92 million.
For salary-cap-strapped teams, that is great news. Teams have become very creative on LTIR and with the increases, NHL general managers may not grow additional gray hairs in managing the cap.
For the Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Vegas Golden Knights, some relief is in store.
And none too soon with all the huge contracts being awarded to players of late.
That concludes this edition of NHL rumors. Be sure to catch our next article and thanks for reading!
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